Category: Anna Otto
Aladdin Sane was David Bowie‘s 1973 album. Although people often forget the name of this Bowie persona (a pun on A Lad Insane), his image is one of the most memorable: a face crossed by a lightning bolt to represent a divided self. A continuation of Ziggy Stardust, it was partly inspired by David Bowie‘s brother Terry, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Aladdin features in The 1001 Nights as a boy who becomes trapped in a cave by a wicked magician, but escapes with the help of a genie. A pantomime staple, it has also been made into a popular Disney film.
The name Aladdin is an Anglicised form of the Arabic name Ala Al-Din, meaning “excellent in faith”. Aladdin has been rarely used as an English name, and probably reminds people too strongly of the magical lamp.
During his long career, rock icon David Bowie was the master of reinvention, constantly changing image and donning guises, until it has become a cliche to describe him as chameleon-like. More unusually, the masks that Bowie wore and the roles he assumed were often given a name, becoming characters in their own right. In tribute to David Bowie, who passed away earlier this year, here are some of the names he wore or were connected with him.
Some vocabulary names are popular, like Poppy and Summer, while others are familiar, like Faith and Melody. Then there are the vocabulary names that are more unexpected. These are ten names I have seen (on Australians) this year – but only once. They are all real names, but comparative rarities.
Latinised form of the Greek form of Andrew. The name has been used in Germany since the Middle Ages; a famous medieval namesake is Andreas Osiander, a Lutheran mystic and theologian. The name Andreas was used in Britain too, although probably the name was still pronounced the same way as Andrew in everyday life. Just outside the Top 100 in Germany, Andreas is less often seen in English-speaking countries, perhaps because of fears it will be be confused with its feminine counterpart, Andrea. This German classic seems like a fresh update to flagging Andrew, and has recently had some publicity from the disaster movie San Andreas.
Many English-speaking countries have a history of high levels of immigration from Germany, and yet German names are not particularly common. This is often true even in families of German ancestry: I am of part-German descent myself, and my siblings and I do not have particularly German names, although readily understood in Germany. There are such strong links between German and English that it is easy to assimilate and choose the English form of a name (George instead of Georg), and two world wars have strongly encouraged such assimilation. Some traditional German names now seem awkward and outdated, even in their country of origin – yet clunky names are beginning to come back into fashion, and there are also many sprightly German short forms of names with tons of vintage style. Here are some examples of both.